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#writing advice

Imagine, a couple reuniting again after a long period of time (bonus points if they both were stuck in a near-death situation away from each other.)

Character A strokes Character B’s cheek and then says:

“I have always wondered what to call you.. A moon, because you are so breathtaking that I can’t take my eyes off you, or a sun, because I can’t live without you?”

OR

They aren’t even a couple but Character A is so love sick while B is not into them so when A recites this pick-up line they had prepared for them, B replies with:

“Pick Sun, because I will always burn the heck out of you when I am around.”

Imagine a goofy Character C replying with: “Burn! Get it?” Which is clearly a pun and Character A saying, “Oh, shut up.”

Which one would you pick? >:) (read tags XD)

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Me, myself and I have a grand conversion; forgive me if, I seem rude. If people speak to me, of the up most importance… tasks a person dwells on in life, well, I might have to say the most peculiar artefact is the one inside ones own head..

Things spark; firers start; only …. differently, if given the right circumstance.


Neutrons are bullets and electrons are the bullseye. No telling why, or what for. But evolution tells me we bite of more than we can chew.


- SAMUEL JESSOP

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Quick reminder: when you take a break from writing pick an activity that turns off your language processing centers. Art, physical activity, taking a nap, cleaning, household maintenece, etc. Doing so will more effectively rest your mind than reading a book or watching TV as these activities require the same part of your brain that fuels your writing.

Rest efficiently to write efficiently.

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Questions you should ask yourself about your characters, as told by the wonderful author, Nina LaCour:

What is your character yearning for?

What is holding them back?

What are the wounds they carry with them?

How do these wounds effect their life?

What will be set into motion, as the story progresses?

How will it challenge them?

How will it push them?

How will push on their sore places - their wounds they carry?

Will it force them to confront difficult things? What?

How will it crush them?

And most importantly - will they overcome it?


(Source: her podcast, Keeping A Notebook [episode 2] - you should definitely check it out if you like writing advice!)

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Hello love!

I answered 13 here.

14. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever come across? 

Everything that’s too strict and absolute. Things like “don’t use said” or “only use said” or “don’t use adverbs” etc etc. Thing is, everything in language is a tool: the “said”s and the “exclaimed”s and the adverbs and the second POV and the sentence fragments and ending a sentence with a preposition or starting a sentence with “and” and “but”. These are all tools, and an author can use them as they see fit to create interesting stories. This is creative writing, not essay writing or news article. I love to see authors experiment.

29. If you could write the sequel (or prequel) to any fic out there not written by yourself, which would you choose?

Oh this is such a cool question. I feel like there are dozens of fics I’d like to remix but the one that came to mind first is a CaPri modern au: run all the lights by Fahye. It’s phenomenal, and I’d love to be able to play in that sandbox.

Thanks!!

40 Qs for Fic Writers

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Well, I didn’t get the surgery. They said that the toe was too bad for them to do. They didn’t have the capability to do it. So unfortunately, I can’t have it done and have to go to a specialist. So I went out of my house for the first time in over ten months, FOR NO REASON!!! It’s fair to say I was a little angry (on the inside) when they told me that. All they could do was give me some antibiotics. So now I’ll have to leave the house once again.

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Everytime I beta or give writing advice I preface I am not the end all be all, but I’m going to be honest. When I’m listened to, I get thanks, and it makes beta'ing that much more worth it! Other times…

So yeah, ask my advice at your own risk I guess.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

this is mostly a joke but I’ve been called harsh and worse haha aahhhhhh

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Hello, love!

13. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever come across?

It’s a combination between “learn the rules and then break them” and “do what the story needs” which are related pieces of advice in my mind. To know what a story needs, an author must have a good understanding of storytelling and/or mechanics (prose, dialogue etc) and what each literary device or authorial choice achieves.

For example, a piece of advice is: stick to one POV within a scene (if not a chapter). A common novice mistake is POV slipping from one character’s mind to another’s and then back, often within the same scene or even paragraph. It’s easy to pick up when it’s not done consciously or if the author had an imaginative idea about mixing POVs that they failed in execution. So my advice combo says:

  1. learn the rules (how to write consistent POVs).
  2. Practice until you can do it in your sleep.
  3. Decide if your story needs consistent POV or whether it demands/allows for some flexibility. Perhaps your story will be phenomenal with POV constantly flitting through characters, because your narrator is a telepath or something.
  4. In that case, break the rules happily and with abandon, and most importantly, with intent.

15. If you could choose one of your fics to be filmed, which would you choose?

Probably my WIP, 9 ½ Days. I can picture the beautiful Cornish landscape, the cottage in the woods, the Roma camp, the seaside cave I’m supposed to be writing now. I think it’d look gorgeous and there’s a bit of suspense at a couple of moments to keep viewers on the edge of their seat.

Thank you!!

40 Qs for Fic Writers

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Referring to “writer’s block” as such implies that free-flowing creativity should be a writer’s default mode. That’s about as realistic as expecting matter to incline toward order rather than entropy. Approach writing under the assumption that it’s miraculous that you have the slightest possibility of creating anything that isn’t pure nonsensical drivel. Be thankful for that possibility. The fact that you have the ability to imagine anything at all is an absolute miracle of life and evolution. Let that be your baseline.

Then start searching for ways to cultivate the cesspools of nebulous thought into identifiable shapes. Focus on one idea at a time. I mean that because there will be a million ideas vying for your attention and if you let in even two they’ll all think they’re invited. Maybe you’re stuck on one sentence and it’s holding back the train. Maybe you haven’t ironed out a character motivation, and unbeknownst to you, that motivation is the keystone of an entire chapter.

The solutions to “writer’s block” are usually in the writing and they’re usually simpler than you think, but you have to open your eyes, engage your mind, and dig. Give your story a long session of intense problem solving as often as you can. Work to exhaustion. You’ll see improvements.

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valdomarxAnswer

Ahh, it can be intimidating to start posting fics for sure! I’m pretty comfortable with it now, but let me give you some tips that might help:

Consider how you look at other people’s fics. If I find the 807th body swap fic for a particular pairing, I don’t think that’s boring or unoriginal. I go “OH YEAH ANOTHER FIC OF MY FAV TROPE!” So I try to apply that to myself as well. I hope other people will be as happy to read my take on classic tropes as I am to read theirs. I read other people’s fic with an open heart and a positive mindset, and I hope for the same in return.

You can never predict how a fic will be received. Sometimes I write something and I think it’s kind of underwhelming, or badly developed, or incoherent. Then I post it, and people really love it? Other times, I post things I feel are sure to be well received, and the reaction might be rather lukewarm. That’s ok! Just goes to show, you can’t predict what people will like or what they’ll see when they look at your writing. So your thoughts about what’s good or bad about your writing are not always accurate.

Notes/comments/kudos are not everything. It is absolutely very nice to get lots of positive feedback on a piece of writing. It undeniably feels good. But it’s also nice to share something very personal, or to practice writing in a new style, or to write something that’s just very self-indulgent for yourself. Try to write something that you feel proud of – even if it’s just “I’m proud of myself for posting this, even though it’s imperfect” – and try not to get too obsessive over how many clicks it gets.

Ask friends for help. I absolutely go to friends, or to Discords, and go “wahhh help me I hate this” once in a while. People are always really supportive, and having people cheering you on can be such a good motivator. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or even just to ask someone to cheer for you.

It gets easier with time. The reason I’m pretty chill about posting now is that I’ve posted something like 250 fics here, for better or worse. Posting the first fic was undeniably the hardest, and each time after that it gets a little easier. Acknowledge that posting your first fics is a big and scary thing. But also know that it’s super rewarding and a lot of fun, and if you stick with it you’ll both improve as a writer and get more confident about sharing your writing.

I hope that helps, and I wish you luck and confidence with your fics!

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Not odd at all! I learned a lot through roleplaying too and even when I was a kid writing linearly I still shared it with friends. Building/entering a community of other authors or people wanting to read and support your work helps A LOT. Writing really doesn’t have to be as lonesome as classic authors/media/whatevs makes it out to be! In fact, it shouldn’t! You can’t create inside a vacuum-sealed bubble.

A lot of the time I use to write is also bc I’m lucky and can write during my job if it’s slow. I also only work part-time, and school takes up a lot of time, sure, but not a full 8hrs/day. It also helps that my workplace shut down from March to July and now we’re shutting down again until the end of the year lol so this has been a very very unique year in terms of free-time :’D

As for inspo–other people! Other IF games have been a huge inspiration, the original spark for snv happened years ago after listening to a Kaleo song and badly misunderstanding some red dead redemption online access thing (idek what it was bc my internet was so slow I couldn’t properly play it). Consuming media gives you ideas, art and writing and anything creative is always born of that which is around us and that which we consume–whether its art, tv shows, if games, etc. So if you’re running low on inspo, go through some other author’s WIPS, peruse unsplash/pinterest, read a book, etc. etc.

Another tip, especially when you’re starting out (at least it worked for me lol) I set a time limit on how long I would worldbuild and story build before writing anything. I’d built the plot and story and world in a few months and made a deadline to when I would start writing because, for me, I get sucked into the worldbuilding and would never write a thing.

A lot of my past projects failed because of that, because I spent so long working on fleshing out every piece of detail that eventually I just didn’t want to write it anymore.

Second tip, and again, only if it works for you, I set myself a low manageable daily word count goal. Setting yourself up with large daily goals is a very quick and easy way to get disheartened and frustrated. My goal every day is to write 500 words, because that was a manageable goal for me that wouldn’t overwhelm me. And, usually, when I start writing with that goal in mind, I wind up writing more bc the biggest block to writing is the whole ‘getting started’ bit.

I’m also treating snv like the first draft it is. I proof read a little as I’m writing but there are a ton of edits I want to make and scenes I want to polish, but doing so on top of that 500 word count goal would exhaust me so I don’t. At least not yet. I’ll probably set aside a week or something for just editing but otherwise, once a scene is written, I don’t sweat it (or try not to lol!! Unless it’s really broken then I’d work on it) bc I know a lot of other authors struggle with this too. They agonize over scenes until they’ve been written to death. If you’re re-reading a scene over and over again you’re not going to see how to make it better.

Leave it alone, let it ferment, and come back to it later (much later in my case). Imo the best proof reading is when I’ve forgotten what I’ve written XD

TL;DR Don’t write alone! Alone is no fun! And you won’t be able to suss out problems/bounce ideas on your own.

Make small manageable goals, try not to spend too long on the planning stage (in fact, plan while you’re writing if you like. I’ve only got most of chp. 3 outlined and I didn’t even outline chp. 1 and 2)

Treat your drafts just as they are–like drafts! They don’t (and shouldn’t!) be perfect! If you’re agonizing over a scene, let it go, let it sit, come back to it later.

Know (or learn!) your limits, be kind to yourself, and find people who will support you and help you with feedback, brainstorm, and constructive criticism. :)

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A thought on giving characters flaws: don’t decide them based on what best advances your plot. That makes the character more of a plot device. Also don’t decide them randomly. Instead, look at their strengths, and decide what flaws come with those strengths. Tenacity, for example, can also be pigheaded stubbornness. Courage can be impetuousness. Zeal for justice can be a short temper or a habit of sticking one’s nose in.

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